Three days after my mom turned 42, she had her first and only child. My dad was 47. To many, this is strange. But I’ve never known anything else.
The unlikelihood of my birth didn’t occur to me until much later in life.
Once I realized how unique my family was, I began to think about all the other ways in which we were unique. Here are some of the pros and cons that I’ve identified.
Pro: Parents can take care of other priorities before having kids.
When parents have children later in life, they have more time to focus on other priorities. For one, they can pursue other goals and hobbies. As gender equality becomes more of a reality, men and women want to establish themselves professionally. That’s a lot easier to do before you become a parent.
With a more established career, comes financial stability. Raising children can be expensive. So, spending more time working and saving can make having a child further down the line far less stressful.
Finally, having children late allows couples to develop stronger relationships. Parenting can certainly strengthen the bond between two partners. However, it can be a lot easier to parent well when the parents involved can communicate and understand each other well from years of practice.
Pro: Parents can have even more gratitude.
A child is a gift. However, if you rush into having children it may be harder to appreciate that gift. It may feel like you’re sacrificing your goals and your independence in order to be a parent.
Older parents have time to do and see the things they want. So, they have more time to consider the decision to become a parent and may be able to more fully appreciate the parenting experience.
Con: Parents and children have less time.
I’m sorry that this is morbid; but it’s something I have to think about often. Older parents simply have less life to live than younger parents. As a result, they may never see their children get married. They may never meet their grandchildren. They’ll likely miss pivotal moments in their childrens’ adult lives. It’s impossible to know for sure, but it’s always something to consider.
Con: Older parents have difficulty relating to other parents.
When you have children late, you’re caught in the middle. Friends your age have much older children while other parents at school are much younger. While older parents are celebrating their victory, you’re just getting started. On the other hand you may want to spend time with parents that have children the same age as yours; but upon getting to know them they may seem naive or immature.
As a result, it can be hard to relate to and find parents who can empathize and commiserate with you.
… There is no one right way to do things. And there are exceptions to every rule. I believe anyone can make the most of their family situation and it’s always important to live with gratitude and respect for others. However, being the child of older parents has given me a unique perspective on how things work!